Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) Screams ‘We Need India!’ With Google Allo

China tends to hog the spotlight when it comes to U.S. technology companies looking for new markets. But India may be the bigger prize. In the latest indicator of the importance of India as a market to American tech giants, Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Allo messaging app now supports Hindi.

Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOGL) Google Allo Shows the Importance of India

The market for the consumer products that big technology companies like Google and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) sell is becoming saturated in North America. There are only so many Android phones and and iPhones you can sell here, especially when almost everyone already owns one.

China or India?

A mature market means the days of record-setting sales quarters are ending.

Thats why countries like China and India are looked to for growth. Their populations dwarf that of North America and there’s a growing demand for smartphones.

China has often been considered the prize. Its population of 1.357 billion is over four times that of the U.S. and wealth has been rapidly building in the country — along with a demand for high-tech gadgets.

However, China is a tough nut to crack. It’s home to many competing technology firms like Xiaomi and Oppo that are selling home-grown smartphones at a fraction of the price of an iPhone. The government and its strict policies (including censorship) can be difficult to deal with, as companies from Google to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) have discovered.

Given the challenges in China, India has become an increasingly attractive market.

With a population of 1.25 billion, it is nearly as large as China. Like China, India has a growing economy and an expanding middle class, but India is a decade or more behind China in its econonomic development. So moving on India now means getting in early, unlike China which requires considerable effort to establish a presence.

In addition, India’s government is seen as being easier to deal with by Western technology companies and India lacks the powerhouse local technology companies that have been taking over the Chinese smartphone market.

Google Allo Goes Hindi

There’s no Chinese version, but Google is now rolling out Hindi support in its Allo messaging app, in a clear nod to the importance it places on the Indian market. As Ars Technica points out, this is just the latest in a series of India firsts for the company.

The low-cost Android One phone launched in India, the country got free Wi-Fi access points and YouTubeGo was created as a custom offline-first version of the video app, specifically for the Indian market.

The Hindi version of Google Allo also comes on the heels of news late last week that AAPL was making moves to secure its supply chain in India. The company is reportedly investing in a new distribution center to ensure its products are available at the retail and enterprise level across the country.

Apple also is looking at an R&D center in India, and rumors have been flying for months that it and partner Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd (OTCMKTS:HNHPF) — better known as Foxconn — are looking at manufacturing the iPhone in India.

The Indian Invasion Ramps Up

The announcement that Google Allo would be gaining Hindi support first surfaced at the Google for India event at the end of September.

With the Hindi version now rolling out, it’s clear that GOOGL intends to not just talk the talk, but to execute on its plan to aggressively pursue India as the next big high tech growth market.

And with a growing retail network and an interest in R&D and manufacturing in the country, Apple is focusing on India, too.

As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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